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Wabruda to host 30th annual ‘Black Man’s Think Tank’

| Friday, April 9, 2021

According to their website, Wabruda is a University organization based on brotherhood among African Americans, committed to achieving social awareness and personal enlightenment. On Friday, their “Black Man’s Think Tank” aims to do precisely that.

The event will take place via Zoom from noon to 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend, but must register for the conference online.

The speakers will include professor of sociology at the University of Maryland Rashawn Ray, professional basketball player and TikTok star Jesse Chuku, former Wabruda president David Lewis and Reggie Brooks, assistant athletics director of alumni relations and former All-American football player at Notre Dame.

The event is co-sponsored by Campus Ministry, Multicultural Student Programs and Services and the department of human resources.

This year’s event is the 30th annual Black Man’s Think Tank. Last year’s event, which would have originally been the 30th, was canceled due to COVID-19.

Eric Love, director of staff, diversity and inclusion and sponsor of Wabruda, said there has been an increasing number of participants in the think tank over the last few years.

“It’s been really exciting,” said Love. “It’s generally a way to address issues of the day that affect the Black community and broader.”

The theme of this year’s think tank will be “Sign of the Times.”

Senior Jeff Musema, president of Wabruda, said the theme is fitting — 2020 and 2021 have been eventful years, so it is important to reflect upon all that has happened and move forward together.

“I think it’s super important that we all reflect upon our placement in history, as well as our place within the fight for social justice and equity and equality,” Musema said.

In previous years, when the event could be held in person, participants were able to interact with one another by discussing a set of questions. This year, there will be more speakers as well as a question-and-answer section following each presentation, Musema said.

This year’s event will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of Black student-athletes at Notre Dame.

Brooks said his speech will cover his experience as an African American student-athlete at Notre Dame.

“[The think tank] goes a long way in helping build understanding of the community and the culture of Black men and women, and better understanding of how that permeates throughout Notre Dame,” Brooks said. 

Junior Andre Wilson, vice president of Wabruda, said the think tank can help bridge the gap on campus by helping students understand what students of color go through. 

Love said the event is for anyone interested in the topics being discussed to attend, not just for Black men. He believes that attending the event is “the right thing to do at the right time.”

Wabruda’s motto is “I am my brother’s keeper, and together we will rise.” Echoing this sentiment, Musema said after this past year, it is important for people to come together as brothers and sisters and fight for justice. 

“We are bringing not only African Americans together, but also members of the Notre Dame and the national community together towards achieving social awareness and personal enlightenment,” Musema said.

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